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TOPIC: Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore

Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 3 months 5 days ago #25

I can't say that this is a universal experience, but from what I've seen as a player and 1-time volunteer, the question of what difficulty level to play at is already a bit murky. If your group doesn't already know what it wants to do, it can easily spiral into a conversation that takes too much time when time is of the essence. Adding yet another difficulty level to the mix, and trying to help individual players understand where they most likely fit into that power scale, I think would just exacerbate the time problem.

On Saturday night I had a group come through The Path of Death (E2) dungeon that was a 6/4 (I think) mix of veterans and new players. All of the veterans came with their character builds already set up on an Android/iOS app, and they all asked for me to reduce their damage bonuses from whatever the app said (iirc they were all +20-30 or higher) to just a +5. That way their characters were able to retain most of their power (HP, AC, +hit, etc) while also allowing the new players plenty of time in combat to enjoy the experience.

I think this might be a better possible solution to the issue. In general if players ask to have lower stats than what their gear grants to them, I don't see any problem with it, but that has to be something that those players are actively aware of as an option. Maybe the "Normal" difficulty level could be modified so that the maximum allowable damage modifier for the players is +5 or +10? But even that proposal has issues, because the difficulty level would really need to be determined before the coach began recording the party card.

So I don't really have a great solution here, just throwing out thoughts that seemed appropriate to this topic.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 3 months 5 days ago #26

Endgame wrote:

Lord of Mistakes wrote: I want to be clear, in previous years, I have Rare token builds all classes, and the group can bring many of them up to 5th level (presently all but one class).
At minimum, four of the players were more than half purple (or better) in their builds, and, in most cases, it was six players at the more than half purple token build level.

Playing hardcore with half the party at half purples and the other half all reds or better is not a good experience for new players. The PHB indicates that:
"Hardcore: This is for people who have some TD experience and at least three bags of tokens."

This is definitely not the case, and this is0 out of date.
This is why I suggest a new difficulty level.
Normal is for people with mostly Red builds.
Hardcore is for people with all Purple builds and beyond.

Regarding player skill, this could be a part of it, but I question if it is intended that Hardcore--as defined (3 bags of tokens)--should require a paladin/cleric class to slide an 18 or better to hit the monster.

There are people who can slide an 18 consistently, but it isn't normally a new player sliding for the first time.


Hi Steven,

I've trimmed down your quote a bit, because some of what you're saying isn't meshing with my experience at Gen Con this year. My group is 5 to 6 people depending on the run, all at level 5, and that is mostly due to penalty inducing level items - 2 ring of fateful heroism, 1 medallion of heroism, 1 charming set, 1 ring of heroism, 1 charm of heroism. I'm the only one using more than 1 UR that isn't a treasure enhancers or +level item (I play cleric, 1/2 purple, kilt, relic baton). We absolutely rocked hardcore and figured we probably should have run nightmare on E2 when we have a group that was teetering on the edge of running it.


Maybe this year was different.
For 2019, I didn't push the group to run Hardcore for any of the three runs we did, so we only played Normal.
It was a pleasant surprise--after working for the past three years to balance the party--to see the joy and fun that was had by a majority of the players.
It was quite a difference from the previous few years.

These feelings were different from 2018 when we almost had a 14 year TD player quit over the difficulty of Hardcore and 2017 when we had 2-3 new players tell me that the Hardcore dungeon wasn't fun, but the Normal dungeon was great! (They didn't know at the time what Normal or Hardcore were.)

In the past two years, anytime our group tried Hardcore, there were dissatisfied players (normally new players).
I'd like for new players to have a good time, and come back to play more TD in the future.

Endgame wrote: Half red / Half unconmmon builds can push +10 to hit and +10 damage. When you add in a Bard singing for +2 / +4 damage (or +3 / +3 with lute of fury or lute of free fury), Prayer and Bless, you're looking at around +15 to hit. That means you should be hitting even the boss monsters on 13 (or less!).

A couple sample builds to show what I mean:
+11 hit / +17 damage barbarian: truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=561&id=248798#342040
+10 hit / +10 damage fighter: truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=565&id=248766#349012


I've attached our party card from this year, and please reference the Paladin, Monk, and Dwarf Fighter (the classes played by "new" players.
They have +7 to hit, +7 to hit, and +9 to hit (respectively); the bard had the Lute of Free Fury, so that makes it +10, +10, +12.

The Paladin and Cleric were the two that specifically said that they couldn't hit on an 18, but that was at PAX South.
Their builds are better now than they were at PAX South, but I don't have their party cards from that convention.

Endgame wrote: The biggest problem with running half red and the other half under is saves and HP, but it sounds like you've got the HP part covered with a LoDS Cleric and a 5th level Bard (soothe wounds is awesome).

Give our success this year, I'm thinking that I would suggest:
Normal - 3 to 5 (ish) boosters with a little trading. I'm pretty sure a coordinated group could kill all the monsters on E1 and E2 with this level. Not sure E3's final room could be completed though.

Hardcore - Half rare to all rare optimized builds. Several key classes should be 5th level (Bard and Cleric for sure). Good group coordination is key, such as Cleric restores spell surge and applicable damage spell, bard passes lore checks and group uses discovered weakness.

Nightmare - Speculation based on my group's results this year - All 5th level, multiple good 4* transmutes, a few strategic purples, and a relic on key classes (Lute of Free Fury, +3 Baton of Focus) along with good group coordination.


I have to disagree with you regarding the Hardcore builds--at least from last year.
Either the difficulties in the dungeon have been very swingy between this year and the past two--which would be a new problem.

What is the experience level of the 5-6 players in your group? Are any of them new to TD?
Could that be why your group of 5-6 players were fine at Hardcore, but inexperienced players wouldn't be as fine?

What about the other 4-5 players that join you on the run? Were they new?

I'm not as concerned about the TD Vets. I'm more worried about the new players that I'm trying to expose to TD in the best possible way.

Thanks.

--Steven

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Last edit: by Lord of Mistakes.

Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 3 months 5 days ago #27

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If the DM was appling the Bard song correctly for the first monster in N1 on Hardcore the AC was 25. So they would need to slide a 15 or better and the 12 a 13 or better. The second and third monsters were 24 AC. For N2 it was 24, 20, 28 (for the giants). N3 was 22, 22 (for the 2 Helkyrie), and 24 for the Devil Drake. Just providing data. Not commenting on If you should have been able to hit it or not with your stats on Hardcore.
You either discover a star or you don't. You arrogant punk.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 3 months 5 days ago #28

Picc wrote: I'm going to sound a little old and crotchety here but back in my day we didnt even have hardcore. Your options were normal and nightmare and that was it. Now we have a system with 5 difficulty slices, maybe we need to adjust where they fall but I dont think we need more.

Well said.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 3 months 4 days ago #29

Lord of Mistakes wrote: I have to disagree with you regarding the Hardcore builds--at least from last year.
Either the difficulties in the dungeon have been very swingy between this year and the past two--which would be a new problem.

I have most of our party builds on the forum already. They are:
Cleric (Me): truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=563&id=248928#330896
Monk: truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=566&id=248334#322068
Bard: truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=562&id=248292
Dwarf Fighter, but using Exalted Creeper Amulet: truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=565&id=248765#342205
Barbarian, but using Medallion of Heroism: truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=561&id=248798#342043
Druid: I don't actually know her build very well, but she played the first time last year and pulled a Crown of Expertise on her first booster.

Lord of Mistakes wrote: What is the experience level of the 5-6 players in your group? Are any of them new to TD?
Could that be why your group of 5-6 players were fine at Hardcore, but inexperienced players wouldn't be as fine?

3 players (cleric, bard, barbarian) started in 2015. We beat Into the Underdark (Puzzle) on normal with just 1 booster each, though 2 people on the run had half rare builds. We lost miserably to the combat in room 7 in The Sable Gauntlet (Combat) though, .

2 more joined us in 2016 (monk, dwarf fighter). We beat our puzzle run, died in room 7 on the combat run.

2017 all 5 ran, and most everyone had gone to 50%+ rares by buying online. We beat both runs on normal.

2018 Cleric, monk, barb, bard ran, dropped dwarf fighter (he couldn't make Gen Con) added a rogue for 2 runs and druid for 1. We had 2 level 5s this year in the party and crushed normal

We have all known each other for years, so we work together well, but TD experience wise the Druid had only run 1 run at Gen Con last year and 2 runs at GHC 2018. I would call her pretty new overall. The Dwarf Fighter Skipped 2018 all together, so I'm not sure how to classify him - he knew what he was doing at least.

Lord of Mistakes wrote: What about the other 4-5 players that join you on the run? Were they new?


2019
e1: Cleric, monk, barb, bard, dwarf fighter + 5 brand new, 1 booster players at random, though we gave all the new players our boosters. We played normal and crushed it, I loaned everyone Linked Shirts of Healing, Pants of Blisswalk, and Agate orbs, but never cast a healing spell - the bard healed all the damage we took.

e2: Cleric, monk, barb, bard, dwarf fighter + 2 people running since 2012 only using their boosters and treasure pulls (never spent a dime on tokens, just runs), and 3 people that played for the first time last year and had a mix of rare and under. We ran hardcore and crushed it - I again loaned everyone not in my group Linked Shirts of Healing, Pants of Blisswalk, and Agate orbs but did cast a couple of heals this time, but the bard did most of the healing.

e3: All 6 of us. 2 people with level 5, extra rings of heroism, and 2 URs each, but well thought out rares and good mix of transmutes. These guys really wanted to go nightmare. The last 2 People ran True Dungeon for the first time at Gen Con - they ran odin's on Thursday, E1 and E2 on Friday, and E3 with us on Saturday. Someone hooked them up with tokens on Friday and they had every slot filled, but they were probably still 25% common. These were unsure about jumping to nightmare so we ran at hardcore. I again loaned everyone Linked Shirts of Healing, Pants of Blisswalk, and Agate orbs

After about room 3, the 2019 new players were saying we should have run nightmare.

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Last edit: by Endgame.

Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 3 months 4 days ago #30

Picc wrote: I have heard the party cards are going to get a redesign soon

The party card gets tweaked just about every year, but currently there are no plans for a major overhaul.

Class cards are due for a major revision. The results of those changes may or not affect the party card.
Have you looked it up in the TDb ?
Please post TDb corrections/suggestions in this thread .
If I write something in teal, it should not be taken seriously.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 3 months 4 days ago #31

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 2 months 3 weeks ago #32

Hey, sorry for the late reply- I don't check the forums very often. I do have the numbers for this anecdote:

Lord of Mistakes wrote: The Paladin and Cleric were the two that specifically said that they couldn't hit on an 18, but that was at PAX South.
Their builds are better now than they were at PAX South, but I don't have their party cards from that convention.

So it was actually a friend of mine playing a ranger who had that problem, and he was running off... maybe about 15 total packs of gear that we split between three of us and shuffled to try to fill slots as best we could? I want to say he had a total of +4 to hit with ranged attacks and +3 with melee (rare weapons, my whetstones didn't exist yet, all the gear we had was focused on "oh god try not to die" - partly because that's all I had and partly because we were hoping the rest of the group could carry us while we executed game plan: "don't stand in fire" ... so that to-hit bonus is primarily from his innate stats as a level 4 character). I don't know which he was using, it may have been melee.
The party did not have a bard.
I realized after the run that the cleric who asked to playing it over me (EDIT: and admittedly, he had better gear than I did at the time so I didn't press him on it) did not cast bless or prayer.

I did mention (edit: I think I did anyway?) I eventually figured out what our real problem on that run was, and that's why I'd been stressing group comp and planning as the main things I was worried about. Seriously, I have a lot of respect for the effort you've put in making sure we had the tools we needed to make sure everyone can contribute - I have seen first hand what happens if you _don't_ have those tools. I stand by my comment that needing 20's to hit is very demoralizing, and makes a player feel like they're completely irrelevant in combat - it's a scenario we should avoid. But I also believe this has been addressed, both by every person on our party card having better gear than Chris had that game, and by the use of bless/prayer/bardsong being vigilantly enforced.

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Last edit: by Matt Robisch.

Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 2 months 3 weeks ago #33

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MasterED wrote:

Picc wrote: I'm going to sound a little old and crotchety here but back in my day we didnt even have hardcore. Your options were normal and nightmare and that was it. Now we have a system with 5 difficulty slices, maybe we need to adjust where they fall but I dont think we need more.

Well said.

Ed


Not sure what place in time Picc is pointing to, but just one detail (sorry - I nit-pick too much...)

I started in 2007, and '07, '08 (Based on the victory pins) there was normal and Hardcore - I think if I remember correctly - early on the Hardcore level was the only bump up. Then it became nightmare, then they added hardcore back in as an intermediate difficulty...

Anyone else able to confirm, refute how I'm remembering it?

And yes, Picc's point is very well stated!
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They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to use. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to use once! Oh - and if you really need to think about whether you're going to use the fireball or the + umpty staff of butt-whooping - you're likely to find yourself full of arrows, or fangs, or nasty knives & swords and such. Don't think - just shoot!

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 2 months 3 weeks ago #34

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A generalization that many of us have used for years is as follows...

You should be able to have most of the party survive/succeed through last room with...

Normal - only the tokens in your ten-packs.
Hardcore - Mostly Rare (red)
Nightmare - Mostly Ultra-Rare (purps)

now there's epic...

Epic - BIS where you can and definitely heavy on Relic and Legendary and Eldritch, Purps everywhere else that you can.

The dungeon difficulties often don't scale quite in line with this, and as has been stated on similar topic threads in the past, that's because when the dungeon is being created, it can sometimes be a challenge to gauge exactly how gameplay goes with the randomness of all the actual players.

In the past and I think even still today, dungeon difficulty (esp. monster stats) have a tendency to be tweaked based on how the room plays... Not a perfect system, but I think that the general design of the dungeons in terms of combat still tries to line up with the above...

Edit - Note: people dying in the dungeon has historically been a topic of some discussion. For the price, shouldn't everyone be expected to get through to at least the last room alive? Very mixed opinions on this.

As to feeling useless or like a non-contributor... I totally get that. Been that guy before. Not fond of it. Thing to remember - everyone who actually plays IS contributing! Even if you don't think so, there are, even in big combats where you're the least powerful party member, there are things you can do - including bumping for max damage if you're not going to hit... Just a thought.
PROUD MEMBER OF THE DDA! :)
They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to use. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to use once! Oh - and if you really need to think about whether you're going to use the fireball or the + umpty staff of butt-whooping - you're likely to find yourself full of arrows, or fangs, or nasty knives & swords and such. Don't think - just shoot!

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Last edit: by Grekel!.

Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 2 months 3 weeks ago #35

A little off-topic here, but I always thought it's kinda strange that Epic comes after Nightmare. Always thought Normal > Hardcore > Epic > Nightmare made more sense. Can always add something like Hellish later.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 2 months 3 weeks ago #36

Blaine Miller wrote: Can always add something like Hellish later.


Torment? ;)

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